A busybody is, "a person who meddles in the affairs of others." (Websters)
What is insidious is that we shroud our meddling in love or pride. We say we're, "only trying to help", and justify our meddling. And the whole deal with pride is that we think we're God; which we're not.
The man in the Old Testament Bible who has a long book named after him, Job, had someone like this in his life named Bildad. In Hebrew, Bildad means "confusing (by mingling) love". This guy had just been unhelpful to Job and this is what Job said back:
Job answered: "How long are you going to keep battering away at me,
pounding me with these harangues?
Time after time after time you jump all over me.
Do you have no conscience, abusing me like this?
Even if I have, somehow or other, gotten off the track,
what business is that of yours?
Why do you insist on putting me down,
using my troubles as a stick to beat me?
It's notable that Job says that Bildad's words were abusive, they battered and pounded him. He felt jumped, put down and beaten. Job says that even if he is off track or in error as the NIV puts it, it's nobody else's business. Meddlers and busybodies make other people's business there own business. The word to these people is "get a life". Pray in private for the other you're concerned about and seek to gain God's perspective.
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20)
I thought of this verse this morning and was reminded of God's faithfulness- "Great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see..." God is not abusive or harsh with people who have lost hope, but He is faithful and just. He knows the pain and cares. When things feel the most hopeless or look the most impossible or sound awful, God is there and powerful to change things.
God's timetable is often different than our plans. God's ways often don't make sense and aren't logical to us. God isn't logical, Mr or Mrs Spock, but travels outside of logic. One thing God always is that we can always understand, is that God is good.
People who know God is good are people who have been rescued by God or set free by God from something. These people will tell you, "God has been good to me". If you can not say this, perhaps you have never experienced God's intervention in your life or you have forgotten it. What's it like to be a "believer", a "church-goer", but not to have a testimony? I would say that for those, there is something missing.
Perhaps, right now, you are at wit's end, rope's end; even on the edge. Maybe you need saving. You are so focused on the quicksand around you that you can't bring to mind that God is good or mighty to save. That is ok. The thing about getting rescued is that it's something that we don't do for ourselves, but is done to us.
My point here is to repeat the fact that God cares about the people in the weakest circumstances. It is written in the scriptures that God cares and God is good and full of faithfulness and justice. This is true reality.
- Glory, glory, hallelujah!
- Glory, glory, hallelujah!
- Glory, glory, hallelujah!
- While God is marching on.
His love endures forever.
The Lord's love goes on and on and on... It never stops. Nothing stops it. God loves you and me the same no matter what. Something to consider if you are going through a hard time. God loves you the same as he does when good times are upon you. Bad times, sickness, defeat, brokenness of all kinds, or failure; the list is endless. None of these stop God's love or are a sign of his lack of love.
God is called "the Lord" because he is Lord of all, whether acknowledged or not. He is also Lord over every circumstance. Even if the negative thing is not changing for the better, God is still Lord over it and the person(s) in the midst of it can reach out to God in it.
Do dreams come true? I think they do, if they're from God. All dreams are not from God, but the ones that are from God are invitations to coming true, that is if they are 'promise' dreams. On the other hand, 'warning' dreams do not have to come true, but will if the warning is not heeded. I think the third category of dreams from God are revelatory, showing you heaven's perspective.
We should have faith in God- depend on, believe in, rely on, trust in, look to, ask of, walk in the ways of, be one with.
This is over-and-above or trumps- faith in ourselves: our abilities, gifts, personal power, or ingenuity.
-faith in others.
-faith in circumstances.
-faith in faith.
The last year of one cycle and the first year of the next cycle are transition years. We're right in the middle of transition. 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 are Hebrew years 5740, 5750, 5760, and 5770.
"If it pleases the King, may I....."
How often do we approach God and approach life with the question, "does this please God", or "what is your pleasure", towards God? We pray to get out of things, to get things, to find things; all for our pleasure. The Bible does teach that God does want to bestow good onto His children and we thank God for all things. But sometimes what is missing in us is that we neglect to live our lives worshipfuly, under God's Kingship, reverentially asking God what He wants or what would please Him the most in a situation.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
I Corinthians 12:4
There are 9 spiritual gifts mentioned in the Corinthian letters and perhaps the healing gift itself can be multi-faceted, because Paul uses the language "gifts of healings" in 1 Corinthians 12:30 (NASB). But in how many churches or gatherings of believers do we get to experience a variety of spiritual gifts functioning in the people? How much fun would it be if many different kinds of gifts of the Spirit were allowed to be expressed in meetings?
On a personal note, I was privileged to walk beside Todd on our Journey's, 20 years ago; when we went on a ministry trip to New Zealand and Australia, with Todd leading our team.
Karl Barth: "Being the church for the sake of the world". (Todd) And my way of describing this phrase is, "God's missional communities".
From Miroslav Volf, "After Our Likeness":
No church without the reign of God.
No reign of God without the church.
(Todd) I would want a church that doesn't "dumb down" our faith, and that repeatedly tells our distinctive Christian story. We must remember that the church is a peculiar people that defines itself by an entirely different set of assumptions than those of the world. We need to realize that we are not helping seekers when we try to explain the Way of Christ in language that is primarily therapeutic or managerial.
One of the reasons we are increasingly without a voice in our culture is because we have "dumbed down" Christianity to a ludicrous level.
Is man seeking God or God seeking man? Perhaps man is hiding, pretending to seek God, but is really looking for a safe and predictable "god". And maybe as we dumb Christianity down, we play right into this scheme by becoming vendors of religious goods and services in order to meet peoples pretend needs.
A Godward church will not be intimidated by increasingly being pushed to the margins of society. In the NT and in history, the church has thrived when it was on the margins of society, not eating from the tables of societal power.
Take your place at the margins, get filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and do what John Wesley said- set yourself on fire, go into society and let them watch you burn.
Now would be a good time to educate yourself on how Israel acted in exile... Figure out what the church did when it was rejected in Jerusalem and was told they had no part in their society. What you'll find is that when the church received no preferential treatment or privileged position, God was most sovereign. I think that we are all just spoiled by the assumptions of Christendom. Well, those days are over.
WE have a tendency as evangelicals to understand what we are saved from, and less and understanding of what we're saved for..
In God's design, the church exists for God's mission in the world.
The church I would build would take seriously "equipping the saints" for meaningful ministry. John Wesley is a great example of leading a godly, missional people. He also perfectly blended community and mission. He had very laid-out methods for classes and societies where people learned to be disciples... They are a beautiful example of what it's like being "living stones" (1 Peter 1:4-5).
I sometimes find in pastors that, psychologically, we don't really like leading living stones, because they can be trouble... but the problem is that the alternative is dead stones. You can control them. But there's no life of the Spirit there. Wesley found a way to loose these living stones, making them increasingly mature Christians, so that they became a "sent" community living winsomely and powerfully in the public arena.
So, the church I would build would aim to be a "sent" community, a body of people sent on a mission. And that means that we need to be deeply in the world. Tragically, I'm finding that some of our pastors have it in reverse: they are of the world but are never really in it. We need to ensure that we are neither about marginalization nor worldly and captured by the world's distractions.
Rather, God has called us to be a display- a foretaste- of the reign of God in the midst of the real world. That means that not only do we have a message to announce, but we are actually to embody that message in our daily lives. Thus, we would never conceive of ourselves as local churches “with” a mission program; we need to understand that we are in fact missionary congregations. Emil Brunner said, “Mission is to the church as burning is to fire.”
We must recognize that we are perhaps now in a more difficult cross-cultural situation than some congregations reaching out halfway around the world. The Christian-pagan distinction is every bit as powerful here as anything the church faces in India or Asia. It’s time for us to learn to be missionaries. Mission can never be merely what the church “does.” Mission is who we are. The community of God is, at its most fundamental level, a missionary encounter with every city, suburb, and village in this universe.
The church that I would build would be a community of Christians who believe the Gospel so much that they actually order their lives around it.
Unfortunately, the statistics (from Barna, etc.) I’ve seen suggest there is little difference between the world and Christians when it comes to behaviors such as renting pornographic movies, giving to the poor, or getting divorced. If you’ve seen those stats, they are enormously depressing.
Our hope is to become an alternative community—one in which the world can see that we actually believe in Jesus so much, that we’ve attributed so much intelligence to him, so much worthiness, that we matter-of-factly order our lives around becoming like him. Actually being a peculiar people, a community intentionally living under the reign of God, would be a compelling argument for the Story of God in the world.
The church community I would build would not be denominationally-oriented. I do not think that differing expressions of Christianity are necessarily a bad thing, but four hundred years of denominationalism have been a major driving force in creating the consumer Christians who you now pull your hair out trying to pastor. Choice has been exploited for hundreds of years. In 1800 there were thirty-six denominations in America. Today there are over four hundred. The problem I have with a denominational orientation is that it’s an inward focus derived from a negative reaction to others. As Lesslie Newbigen says, denominationalism ends up being a type of secularism—a group form of privatized religion.
It’s time we re-discover our fundamental unity with the rest of the Body of Christ. I get up every morning not thinking, “Well, I’m not Toronto, I’m not Kansas City, I’m not Hank Hanegraaff or John MacArthur or Bill Hybels or Rick Warren.” That is not my orientation. My orientation is, “Those are my brothers, and they are all doing the very best they know how to do to serve God. We see their errors, they see ours. But they are our brothers.” I say to them, “My orientation is for God and for serving you, and we recognize our fundamental unity long before we recognize our minor differences."
Gordon Fee says, “The Christian community is called to manifest an alternative social order of Spirit-empowered Christlikeness.” The Christian community should, by definition, be counter-cultural without being escapist. Lives of sacrifice, humility, modesty, self-discipline, and preferring others are not always going to be considered normal in popular society. But the church of Jesus needs to challenge the worldly norms around it, not with signs held up that say, “God hates gays!” but with lives of such love and goodness that it defies understanding, doesn’t make sense to the world around, and that causes outsiders to ask, “What is it that causes you to live this way?”
Why did Christianity spread so rapidly in the early years of the church? Over and over again we can see that the first Christians didn’t out-argue pagans—they outlived them. Their relation to the world was proactive instead of reactionary. They simply made Jesus their master, and routinely gave to those who stole from them, loved those who were persecuting them, blessed those who cursed them, lived humbly, and laid down their lives for others. And it was in observing these communities of people that outsiders saw and understood the Gospel. So the communities we want to make in our churches should neither be fear-based, afraid of the dark, immoral world we live in—nor should our churches be merely a “safe harbor.” No, the church belongs out in the very middle of the terrible waves of life. That’s where God is, you know. We should follow him there.
The "Days of Awe" are the ten days between Rosh Hashana (last Friday) and Yom Kippur (next Monday). That makes tonight's Sabbath special. During these ten days, observant Jewish people greet each other with, "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year," because the ten Days of Awe are about repentance, reconciliation, and introspection. It's a time to "do business with God" regarding past sins and start the new year right. It's a time to align and set your trajectory with God for the new year.
I went to Ezra 9:4 this morning:
'Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice."
From the Days of Awe article on the Religion Facts website:
"According to Jewish tradition, it is during the Days of Awe that God decides on each person's fate in the next year. He writes these judgments in "books" on Rosh Hashanah, but they can be changed until the end of Yom Kippur, when the books are sealed."
I believe that your life (path, destiny, destination) can be changed by your actions.
The idea I have about these Pteranodon's being like the enemy, and by the enemy I mean the demonic entities, is that the enemy's main strategy is to incite fear and to intimidate. His way is to stop people aligned with God from doing good or exercising their authority. He generally does this through scare tactics and intimidation. Like a little man behind a curtain with a big sound system and projector and smoke machines and weird lights (with mirrors), he is essentially toothless.
If you freeze in fear, he's got you; and if you run, he's accomplished his mission. But if you fight back, you'll find that he's toothless. This big bad wolf really has no weapon to follow through with his threats, if you're willing to stand and face him, spiritual sword and shield in hand.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication."Letter to the Church in Ephesus by Paul, Chapter 6
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
If you are tired, weary, or burned out; wait on the Lord and renew your strength.
Waiting doesn't just mean to get some rest or to pause from your focuses, but it primarily means to attend to the Lord, just as a waiter does. Waiting is active. Waiters are on their feet most of the time. To wait on God is to pay attention or give your focus. Renewal comes from intentional attentiveness and refocusing on God. Sounds pretty simple, but we need to hear it because we constantly lose focus and lose our way when we are earthly followers of an invisible God who can seem far away. We have to intentionally get into the place between earth and heaven and get renewed.
And you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
God wanted them to remember that they once were slaves. Remembering from where we were taken by God helps us be thankful and humble and generous. We are saved unto good works. God redeems us so that we can in turn act redemptively with God. Part of the statutes that it's talking about are remembering to include the tribal priests, the poor, the widows and the orphans. Inclusivity.
Mary of Magdalene was a regular person, just like you and I, and Jesus changed her life forever. She decided to follow him to such an extent that she was there when Jesus hung on the cross and she was there at the empty tomb. Because of her curiosity and desire to watch over Jesus, she got to be the first one to see him after he rose from the dead and she was sent by him to tell the other guys.
Your story of what Jesus has done for you is a powerful thing and you get to choose how closely you will follow him. And those who follow closer get to have deeper revelations of him, about him.
The rest of this article HERE.
Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
If when someone dies too early in their life, or when some other suffering is visited upon you, you might be tempted to think it was God's fault and that the event says God is not good, but think again. God is always good. God is not powerless, but God allows things to happen that are not what He wants. We know that God can and does intervene to stop bad things, but often when He does not, there is no perceivable reason that we can find. But, because we do not understand, it does not mean that God is not good. God is good and we don't understand the why.
I had just had a conversation about change and when I reached my next destination, a dime and a penny greeted me in the dirt, which I saw when I opened my car's door. What does 11 mean and what does 10 and 1 mean? Eleven means "new beginning" as far as I can tell. Ten is a completion and one is the new.
Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob and Joseph stands for revelation. Watch for or be ready for change and perhaps that change will be a revelation and/or a new beginning is what I would say.
Every believer is gifted. Every person's gift counts. Every person should use their gift for the benefit of all. God is infinitely creative and so are his gifting's. We have a culture of consumption and stardom or entertainment, which results is passivity or inactivity as far as exercising or using one's gift(s) given by God.
People's feet can get into a different, new or better place; while their hearts are unchanged.
People can see and experience and believe in God's acts, but not know God's ways.
Someone can be in the crowd or the audience but not be a disciple.
Matthew Henry quote on this verse: "Disbelief of God's all-sufficiency, is at the bottom of the sorry shifts we make to help ourselves. They exposed themselves and their children to the peril of idolatry, that had ruined their church and nation."
God causes His word to be fulfilled through whomever He wishes, sometimes through unlikely sources.
Chick-fil-A was named "Best Drive-Thru in America", by g3 Mystery Shopping in 2002.
After hosting a home church that fell apart after less than a year, I was reluctant to start another one; but I eventually did anyway and it fell apart too, but we were blessed during its season. Many people suffer a miscarriage, but go on to have a baby later. Major league batters who hit home runs also strike out.
What I've learned is that I can't let defeats define me and neither would I want successes to.
Caution is fine, but frozen in fear is not good. Many people give up on something they have some passion about whether it's finding love or loving lawn mowing. Perseverance.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9
This Biblical concept is going to get more play in the months and years ahead because we've been believing a lie, that only the few are called or chosen or ordained to ministry. Actually all are called and this is what the Bible teaches from cover to cover. Whether it is the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning. The Lord is not coming back for passive consumers who let others "go and do", but for a people who are an army.
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?
This hymn was written by Robert Lowry in 1864. He had been witnessing a river of death in his time, caused by a severe epidemic. One day, he was inspired to write this encouraging song in a time of deep discouragement.
I believe that most of life is lived in the valley and some of life is lived on the mountaintop. I believe that most of life is lived in waiting and some of life is lived in finding out.
your Redeemer, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says:
"I'm first, I'm last, and everything in between.
I'm the only God there is.
Who compares with me?
The word redeemer means a near relative who could free family members and their property from bondage by paying their debts for them.
Among the names for God, there is one called "the God who sees me." If you believe in God, then you would probably believe that God sees you. But what the name implies is that God lets you know that he sees you and when God lets you know he sees you, he reveals to you how he sees you and you see yourself and God differently after the encounter.
The person who had such an encounter and named God "the God who sees me" is Hagar, and the story is found in Genesis 16: "The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur." The Hebrew word for "spring" also means "eye." This is the first time that the angel of the Lord visits anyone in scripture. Hagar's vision of Sarai has just changed and she's about to receive new vision from God. This is also the first time in the story of Hagar that anyone has spoken to her: "And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.""
The theophony speaks to her, gets onto the subject of her origin and her destiny. She answers, telling of her distressed flight. The messenger's answer is bad news and good news: The angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." The angel of the LORD also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude." And the angel of the LORD said to her, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen."
Phyllis Trible's comment on the text is, "Hagar's unbearable past becomes her future; her origin in suffering becomes her destiny in suffering. Second, the messenger promises Hagar innumerable descendants, thereby according her the special status of being the only woman in the Bible that has received such a promise. Beyond her destiny of suffering, then, lies a future of progeny. Third, the messenger confirms Hagar's conceiving."
The messenger specifies the name of the child and its meaning that God has listened to your affliction, but at the same time, sends her back into it and predicts a future of affliction for the boy, with the consolation stamped to his life that God will be listening. Hagar and Ishmael's difficult life is decreed by God with blessing.
Hagar's response is to do something no one else has done, to name God. She says that God has seen her and this is God's name that she gives God. She also remarks that she herself has seen God and lived: "So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "You are a God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen him who looks after me." Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered."
Hagar has become the first theologian. She has had an experience and been given a word and she gains an insight. Her life now becomes her life after theophany, forever changed.
Phillis Trible, "Hagar, Sarah, and their children: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim perspectives"; Westminster John Knox Press, 2006; pp. 40-41
lift up your voices, let us sing:
Thou burning sun with golden beams,
thou silver moon that gently gleams,
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The literal English translation of the original verse by Saint Francis:
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
There is no one and no thing higher than God. This is something to keep in mind when we pray to God or worship God or consider God's ways. God is highest. This fact was not discovered by man, but revealed by heavenly beings for whom this was settled truth.
I found this from Mary Clark in Marriana Florida today, and I thought it was good.
November 2, 2009
excelsior – higher, always upward
I want you to come up higher, beloved. I want you to see things from My perspective. Do not look at the world through the eyes of the world. Look at things through My eyes; get My perspective, the proper perspective.
I am eager for My beloved to come up higher. I am eager for you to see the things of the world the way that I see them. Do not be duped, beloved. Do not let the enemy dupe you into thinking the way the world thinks. Think as I think. See things clearly, the way I see things, and know true harmony in your heart when you are in sync with the One Who is holy, the One Who is high and lifted up, your eternal Father.
Sometimes we need to be encouraged that God knows what we're going through. And God, who is good, who is love, who is justice, and who is the redeemer cares. God really does cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28) and God really does have a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11).
Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
LORD God All-Powerful,
my King and my God,
sparrows find a home
near your altars;
swallows build nests there
to raise their young.
Psalm 84:3 (Adam Clarke, MSG, CEV)
Psalm 84 is about living from the dwelling place of God. The Psalmist sees God's goodness in the lives of the birds who God cares for. He says that even as the birds make a dwelling place to be completely vulnerable, we also desire to dwell with God in vulnerability.
And look, there was a great earthquake under the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves. But he himself continued sleeping.
Matthew 8:24 (NKJV, Literal translation by Donald A. Hagner; my NT Teacher at Fuller)
This is the picture. A huge storm, a tempest, arises covering the boat with waves. We have Jesus and his disciples in a boat on the water, but Matthew chooses the words Mega Seismo or huge earthquake to describe what's happening. In other words, it's a great earthquake of waves. Hagner's translation gives the idea that the floor of the sea shook so hard that waves were created that covered the boat on the surface.
The boat was being pummeled with waves, yet Jesus slept on. What's the point here? Should we sleep during the figurative tempest that comes upon us? Yes we can, but we don't have to. Jesus is fully at peace in the storm, so much so that he can get his sleep when he needs it. If you panic, you can be encouraged that he's not. If you are so close to him that the storm does not bother you, that's great too. Whatever your reaction, your faith is being tested. Your faith is not in your faith but in a person.
You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have.
I discovered that Goshen means "drawing near" in ancient Egyptian. The context of Genesis 45 is that Joseph and his brothers have just been reunited and the famine has been going for two years and has five more years to go. Joe's family will be cared for in Egypt near him.
What does it means for God to draw near to you? When God draws near, you get what God has for you. God is full of goodness and is generous. God is kind. God has the answer to all problems.
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
When the sun rises, it's pretty obvious that a new day has begun. But new beginnings or the very beginnings of a figurative new day are harder to perceive sometimes. God created the season cycles. Four seasons in one year. The Hebrew calender, before our modern one, had months that cycled through the seasons to make a year. Every year we have planting times, dormant times, and harvest times in the vegetable kingdom.
In human terms, in human relations, it's easy to see death and it's easy to see birth; and everything in between preoccupies us most of the time. But the beginning of a life is tiny and subtle, yet it's most important because all of life follows to conception of life.
When God does a new thing with us, we have to make an effort to honor it, because it's so small at first and we can not get a handle on it. It needs gentle, tender nurture.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
He brews 10:24-25
‘ The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
“As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.
The cool thing about this word that is echoed in Jeremiah is that God is saying that generational sin is not the last word. God takes people out of family patterns. God makes you new in Christ. New spiritual DNA that overrules familial DNA. God says, "he's my son", or "she's my daughter"; and those words set your life in place.
Matthew 7:12 (MSG)
True spirituality is a do-ing spirituality. You first be and then do because your are being. To say and not do is fraudulent spirituality. Christ followers and not just believers, but doers. You follow, you learn, and you go and do. What is it that you want? Do that for someone else.
To experience a new beginning, you need to be free of the past. Things need closure. Funerals and all the rituals we do around bereavement are for our healing from the loss.
and they stand firm in their generosity.
Isaiah 32:08 (NLB)
The generous lifestyle is the way to live. Generosity is a firm foundation that will support you. Jesus said that the one who hears his word and does them is the one who builds his house on the rock that will stand when the storms come. Most translations use the word "noble" here instead of generous. Noble means generous in the Hebrew. This also means that those who are princes or princesses are to be generous.
I believe that God has a plan for each of us and part of that plan is an inheritance for each one. We can come into and receive it or not. We can miss it. We can chase after and pursue things that are not it. We can want what is someone else's inheritance. Each persons God given inheritance is good. One is not better than another. They are all good.
Slaves and workers usually don't get an inheritance. They deserve fair wages and proper treatment, but not an inheritance. Children get an inheritance. You have to be a child, a son a daughter, in the family to find and receive your inheritance.
I'm thinking about this concept of the fourth watch. There are eight three hour watches that make up the day and each one has it's own significance. Chuck Pierce has a whole book about the watches and this is a one paragraph summation from Chuck on the fourth watch:
The fourth (morning) watch is the time the Lord reveals His glory. there is a breaking of a new day, an ultimate returning of God’s glory to Israel. Even with all of Israel’s problems throughout history, she has a wonderful future as a nation. She is God’s chosen nation of example. One day all nations will face the decision whether or not to align with and reconcile their relationship with Israel - with eternal consequences. On an individual level, this watch also represents the power of resurrection as we watch with the Lord. If you will continue to watch with Him, then you will experience His glory. Your future will be established.
The fourth watch is all about the breaking of a new day. There is a time when we are being prepared for the new thing and then there is a time when the new is beginning.
To each one of us: Everybody gets in the mix. Everyone gets to play. Everyone participates. Everyone is a potential. No one is left out. No one just observes or is passive. Everyone is activated.
Grace was given: Grace is the empowering presence of God. Grace is favor. Grace is a divine token.
According to the measure of Christ's gift: Each one receives through the generosity of Christ (NLT).
If you do a study or read a book or listen to a series or take a class on spiritual gifts, Ephesians 4 will probably be discussed. In my experience, most studies gravitate to the later verses that mention apostles, prophets, pastor-teachers, and evangelists. All spiritual gifts are more functions than offices. All believers can prophesy or heal or teach or encourage or give a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge or help or even do a miracle. Every believer may not have a gift in the list of five or function in that giftedness, but still be gifted, according to the description in Ephesians 4:7, "to each one grace is given", and that grace is a gift.
One week ago, Purim came up on the Jewish calander. Purim celebrates the huge reversal that came about when the imperial edict to kill all the Jews was reversed and nullified.
Esther 9:1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.God overturns things. God has the last word. Romans 8:28 tells us that God turns things around and works them out for good. We may not understand but we trust and believe and have peace that passes all understanding and rest.
A Maskil of David.
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
We're in the season of Lent, which is the 40 day countdown to Easter. This is a good time to begin reflecting on what was accomplished by Christ on the cross. David's words in this psalm are applicable to a meditation on the forgiveness of one's sins. In fact, Paul quotes this psalm in Romans 4, when he's laying out justification by faith.
To have your sins forgiven or covered by God is a blessed thing, a good thing, a positive thing. Adam Clarke provides some good notes on these four aspects of sin described here: transgression, sin, iniquity, and deceit.
True blessedness consists in remission of sin, and purification of the heart, 1,2. What the psalmist felt in seeking these blessings, 3-5. How they should be sought, 6,7. The necessity of humility and teachableness, 8,9. The misery of the wicked, 10. The blessedness of the righteous, 11.
NOTES ON PSALM XXXII
The title of this Psalm is significant, ledavid maskil, A Psalm of David, giving instruction, an instructive Psalm; so called by way of eminence, because it is calculated to give the highest instruction relative to the guilt of sin, and the blessedness of pardon and holiness or justification and sanctification. It is supposed to have been composed after David's transgression with Bath-sheba, and subsequently to his obtaining pardon. The Syriac entitles it, "A Psalm of David concerning the sin of Adam, who dared and transgressed; and a prophecy concerning Christ, because through him we are to be delivered from hell." The Arabic says, "David spoke this Psalm prophetically concerning the redemption." The Vulgate, Septuagint, and AEthiopic, are the same in meaning as the Hebrew.
Verse 1. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven
In this and the following verse four evils are mentioned: 1. Transgression, pesha. 2. Sin, chataah. 3. Iniquity, avon. 4. Guile, remiyah. The first signifies the passing over a boundary, doing what is prohibited. The second signifies the missing of a mark, not doing what was commanded; but is often taken to express sinfulness, or sin in the future, producing transgression in the life. The third signifies what is turned out of its proper course or situation; any thing morally distorted or perverted. Iniquity, what is contrary to equity or justice. The fourth signifies fraud, deceit, guile, three acts are mentioned: forgiving, covering, and not imputing. 1. TRANSGRESSION, pesha, must be forgiven, nesui, borne away, i.e., by a vicarious sacrifice; for bearing sin, or bearing away sin, always implies this. 2. SIN, chataah, must be covered, kesui, hidden from the sight. It is odious and abominable, and must be put out of sight. 3. INIQUITY, anon, which is perverse or distorted, must not be imputed, lo yachshob, must not be reckoned to his account. 4. GUILE, remiyah, must be annihilated from the soul: In whose spirit there is no GUILE. The man whose transgression is forgiven; whose sin is hidden, God having cast it as a millstone into the depths of the sea; whose iniquity and perversion is not reckoned to his account; and whose guile, the deceitful and desperately wicked heart, is annihilated, being emptied of sin and filled with righteousness, is necessarily a happy man.
The old Psalter translates these two verses thus: Blissid qwas wikednes es for gyven, and qwas synnes is hyled (covered.) Blisful man til qwam Lord retted (reckoneth) noght Syn: ne na treson es in his gast (spirit.) In vain does any man look for or expect happiness while the power of sin remains, its guilt unpardoned, and its impurity not purged away. To the person who has got such blessings, we may say as the psalmist said, ashrey, O the blessedness of that man, whose transgression is forgiven!
St. Paul quotes this passage, Romans 4:6,7, to illustrate the doctrine of justification by faith; where see the notes.6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. I have the idea, inspired by the verse above, that a leader should lead by example. Children will follow the example of their parents. There's a disconnect when someone says to do as they say, while they don't do it themselves. The best teachers are also practitioners and not mere theoreticians. Aaron made an offering for himself. He got dirty. He fully participated. If you are going to take others to the cross, you not only need to go there first for yourself; but you need to show and tell how you've been there as you seek to lead others there.
"What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived—
these things God has prepared for those who love him"
1 Corinthians 2:9
This is my word for today. Prepared, is my favorite word here. I constantly hear about my preparation, but God has prepared something too, for me. God's waiting in the future. Tomorrow, next year, and ten years from now.
In 1999, what I have in 2009, was like a dream; I could only barely consciously imagine it. But here I am in 2009 living it. What God has prepared for me in the days, weeks, years and decades ahead is like that- beyond me, better than I can conceive. I'm seeing things and hearing things that were barely in my imagination 10 years ago, but they were clear to God back then. He was preparing them for me. I have no idea what's coming and that's ok, He knows. It's good. It's beyond me. It's Him.
"At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
In God there is hope of restoration, of revival. Whatever you have lost, God can bring it back; even dead things. In fact, only lost things can be restored and only dead things can be revived. You can't pretend there wasn't a loss or pretend something is vitally alive that really needs to be brought back to life. There's an aknowledgement that is needed.
The phrase "stir up" means provoke. People are usually provoked to a point of anger. Here, it's the opposite: a provocation to love and good works. One believer inspires another towards good. The word activation led me to this text.
1 Corinthians 4:7
- 'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
- 'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
- And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
- 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
- When true simplicity is gain'd,
- To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
- To turn, turn will be our delight,
- Till by turning, turning we come round right.
- 'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
- Simple Gifts by Joseph Brackett (1848)
- "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." — Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
- "You can always recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity." — Richard Feynman (1918–1988)
- "Our lives are frittered away by detail; simplify, simplify." — Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
- "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." — Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)
James 4:7b, NCV
How to stand against the devil is spelled out in the words before and after this good advice:
- So give yourselves completely to God. (4:7a)
- Come near to God, and God will come near to you.(4:8a)
I had a dream this morning that Barak Obama, our new president was a child. I was really surprised and astonished at how he managed to look like and sound like a full grown man, when I had seen him many times on television. Yet, when I saw him in person, he was a child. I've been pondering this now since I awoke from the dream and it finally dawned on me that it is a positive picture. Jesus said that you must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven: "And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.", (Matt. 18:3-4).
My hope and prayer is that President Obama would be childlike towards God. I think that Jesus is saying that we need to approach God as a child, with trust, humilty, dependence, and faith. Children are learners and followers naturally. Children are open. Children don't have preconceptions.
Some notes on Jeremiah, the Prophet and his writings. His name means, "Jehovah will raise". This reflects the truth that no matter what, God can do it, God will do it. God will raise up what and who he needs raised up. God will raise up voices from unlikely places.
Wikipediea states: "His writings are collected in the Book of Jeremiah and, according to tradition, the Book of Lamentations. Jeremiah is also famous as "the broken-hearted prophet" (who wrote or dictated a "broken-hearted book", which has been difficult for scholars to put into chronological order), whose heart-rending life, and true prophecies of dire warning went largely unheeded by the people of Israel. God told Jeremiah, "You will go to them; but for their part, they will not listen to you"."
Imagine being a true prophet, speaking God's words, but not being believed. God warned him that this would be the case. Thanks for the warning.
Jeremiah lived a very long life, perhaps to age 90, and saw destruction and captivity of his nation. But, when he was young, during the first part of his ministry, he worked with the young King Josiah who was a radical reformer. They worked together for about 18 years, until King Josiah was killed in battle. Unfortunately, the son's of Josiah were not like their dad and undid the reforms and Judah fell back into idolotry and Jeremiah was opposed and persecuted by his own people.
They break forth into singing.
This is part of Isaiah's announcement of how Israel's oppressor, Babylon will fall.
God also gives rest and quiet to the embattled believer. It's a promise of Jesus:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest." (Matt. 11:28, MSG)
Things might be exhausting and cacophonous, but that will change.
We can be good people, we can do good things, we can be productive, and we can be knowledgeable. But if we have lost our simple love in which we love back the one who loved us first, it’s all worthless.
According to Wikipedia, "Courage, also known as bravery, will, intrepidity, and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
In the story of Joshua, God made huge promises to Joshua that he would lead the people into taking the land of promise and that he would be with him as he'd been with Moses. Then God has to tell Joshua to be courageous. He must have needed that because that because of the danger of the task.
From pop-culture, consider that line in the Gilligan's Island song, "if it wasn't for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minow would be lost". In other words, the crew rose to the occasion and did their best at sailing in the storm and saved the lives of all on board. If they were not courageous and froze in fear, the result may have been different.
To encourage to to call up courage in another. The ministry of giving a prophetic word is an encouragement. Whatever form a prophetic word comes in, the result will be encouragement (1 Corinthians 14:3, 31).
At one of king David's low points, it says, "David encouraged himself in the Lord" (1 Samuel 30:6). We have to learn how to go to the well and remember God's love, God's faithfulness, and God's promises and call on our lives.